The Daily Need

House Republicans now officially on record denying science behind climate change

This graphic from NASA explains how the greenhouse effect works. House Republicans voted to reject this and other scientific facts Tuesday.

House Republicans rejected several measures Tuesday that called on Congress to adopt the scientific consensus that climate change is real, that it is caused by human activity and that it is a threat to human health.

We’ve known since before the 2010 election that most of the new House Republicans openly deny the science behind climate change. But now it’s officially on the record.

So here, for that record, is a list of things Republicans now say they officially don’t believe:

  • that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has skyrocketed by about 100 parts per million since 1950.
  • that the warming of the Earth has also has caused glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets to melt.
  • that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are each losing mass at an accelerating rate. Together, they’ve lost a combined average of 475 gigatonnes a year. And that rate of loss is accelerating by about 36.3 gigatonnes every year. That water ends up in the Earth’s oceans.
  • that glaciers are also retreating across Asia, threatening the water supply there and resulting in massive water runoffs and extreme flooding. In Bhutan, 66 glaciers have decreased by 8.1 percent over the last 30 years. The Himalayan glacier Chhota Shigri Glacier, in India, has lost 12 percent of its mass in just the last 13 years.
  • that the addition of this water to the oceans has caused the rate of global sea rise to double in the last decade, to about 3.4 millimeters per year (as opposed to about 1.8 millimeters for the last century).
  • that the warming of the planet increases the likelihood and frequency of extreme weather events — including hurricanes and intense rainfall — by raising ocean temperatures and adding energy to the Earth’s atmosphere. Since 1975, the destructive power of tropical cyclones — their duration and maximum wind speed — has increased by 70 percent.
  • that the atmosphere is getting much, much warmer. 2010 is now tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record — ever. The 20 warmest years on record have occurred since 1981. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 12 years.

The denial of these and other facts supporting the scientific consensus that climate change is real is not merely ideological; it’s political. Republicans are trying to block new regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency that would limit greenhouse gas emissions, on the grounds that those rules would hurt the GOP’s corporate patrons.

The EPA can only regulate greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act if it determines that climate change poses a threat to public health. Armed with the facts listed above, the EPA issued such a finding in December 2009, and then issued proposals for new greenhouse gas limits based on that finding.

Republicans, in an attempt to block those regulations, are trying to undermine the EPA’s December 2009 public health finding by questioning the science it is based on — the science behind man-made climate change. When Democrats offered the measures mentioned above, for example, it was because Republicans were marking up a bill that would block the EPA’s climate change rules.

Republican politicians are also suing the federal government to block the new emissions standards from taking effect, and trying to make it seem as though the science behind those standards is still in doubt. Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general of Virginia, is leading the charge in that effort. He has subpoenaed the records of a leading climate scientist, Michael Mann, to prove — somehow — that Mann is a fraud.

It hasn’t worked so far. The facts above remain unchallenged among the vast majority of climate scientists. Cuccinelli, meanwhile, is taking his case to the Virginia Supreme Court, after being rebuffed by a lower court last year.

 
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Comments

  • Mike Sherline

    This is typical. The Republicans are the new Know-Nothings, and proud of it. They hate science and education and are jealous of anyone who has one or can string together a coherent sentence, derisively hooting “elitist”, as if being elite is a bad thing. What a bunch of morons. Another proof that we always get the best congress money can buy.

  • Mouse

    Reservedly, I think this a smart move, “consensus” isn’t a scentific concept, it would limit research more than anything. We can work to prevent what we believe is causing global warming, by all means, but by voting on a belief that what we are seeing is the result of one specific cause, we would essentially be making it that much harder for alternative theory to be brought to the table. What if it’s not human caused? What if it’s the sun? Or just part of a normal long term cycle the earth goes through?

    Voting for something like this, before we properly understand it, would only show what a short sighted race we are. Keep politics out of science, please.

  • Theo

    It is not that they don’t believe it. It is that they vote for the greedy corporations that give them checks daily.

    It is a shame that American government has become the most corrupt government in the world. The citizens vote, the corporations invalidate the wishes of the majority by bribing these cowards who pretend to work for public good. Democracy in America has become a one-day event. Until bribery (lobbying) is outlawed in America, the congress and their corporate masters will continue to sell America to the highest bidder.

    Republicans are sell-outs. They don’t believe in proven science, yet they claim to believe in their god they can’t see. They hate abortions, but they endorse wars that kill millions of people. Just a bunch of hypocrites!

  • Anonymous

    What science are they going to deny next? Gravity?

  • Ds

    From the wonderful folks who gave you creationism…and homophobia…and white supremacy…and misogyny…and…

  • Yepez11

    Lowering or limiting greenhouse gas emissions may be bad for some peoples pockets but can’t hurt the planet. With so much uncertainty, if that’s how they want to spin it, why not err on the side of caution.

  • Open Minded

    It would be hard to find a better example of why PBS should not get tax dollars to fund it than this slanderously partisan unscientific diagtribe and the predominantly ignorant comments upon it by people who think they are so smart because they hold the “right beliefs.” Obviously neither the staff of Need To Know and the typical viewers never bother to read anything by folks who disagree with them. There are hundreds of eminent climate scientists and PhDs in other disciplines who have done research indicating that the threat of higher CO2 levels is either greatly exaggerated or non-existent and No — NONE of them deny that CO2 is a greenhouse gas which, if nothing else changed, would in fact warm the atmosphere. The open minded and others who don’t want to drown in the ignorance promoted by “Need To Know” can see http://www.heartland.org/ClimateChangeReconsidered/index.html, or http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/ or http://www.climatedepot.com/ are just as few. Sorry to offend if global warming is your religion, but then maybe you should learn a little bit of tolerance and open-mindedness.

  • Arydberg

    Maybe, Just maybe the rash of climate disasters we have been seeing is a result of misguided government research dedicated to a project called Haarp. Goggle Haarp for more information.

  • Voice of reason

    Republicans do believe in “global warming”. What they object is imposing regulations & taxes based on minor variations in the weather. The evidence presented in this article – world wide “sea level rise doubling” sounds scary but the fact remains 3.4 millimeter sea level rise is less than 1/8 of an inch. How does this fact justify requiring the people & businesses an additional tax burden?

  • Rhays1

    With all due respect to “Open-Minded”, the statements made are ridiculous. Anyone who has not lived in a indoor conditioned environment can see the increased intensity of weather events. The number and intensity of hurricanes, tornadoes and even snow storms has increased dramatically over the past decade. I find it interesting the comment about “hundreds of scientists in other disciplines”, the key is “other disciplines”, meaning they are not climate scientists. They are probably scientists funded by special interests who have an interest in minimizing the climate change issue so they won’t have to pay for additional mitigation strategies to reduce warming of our climate. It is also interesting that this comment goes after PBS and Need to Know, further demonstrating the ulterior motive of the comment. The Republicans are an anti-American political party. Everything they do is motivated by the special interests that fund their elections. They are only interested in money and power, not what is best for the American people or the environment. Open- minded needs to come out of their conditioned space and see the effect that global warming is having on our planet. It is as undeniable as the fact that Republicans are only interested in money and power.

  • Jane

    So Sherline you are saying that over half of Americans are morons and “know nothing” Does that include all 57 states??

  • http://www.facebook.com/nahoskins Nicholas Hoskins

    Half of Americans? You realise this news make America officially one of the least educated nations on the planet. That is terrifying. And embarrassing. Mostly terrifying.

  • George nickerson

    Republicans will lose sea level constituents of our south eastern states, and find themselves in a quagmire because they refuse to recognize the work of life saving scientists.

  • http://openid-provider.appspot.com/chazseyfarth Blahsteen

    you have some valid points but politics is all consuming and I would disagree with your view of not voting on something without having every single detail worked out. as a physician I don’t tell my patients to keep smoking until we find out definitively that their cancer is from the pack a day they’ve been putting into their body. 

    another thing i would mention is that keeping politics out of science does not mean we should keep science out of washington. regulation needs to take place and if you disagree then perhaps you should speak to any of the deepwater victims’ spouses. obviously both parties are guilty of making this into a political issue for personal gain without regard to the serious nature of needing to create jobs vs protecting the environment and human health. but you are very open minded so i’m sure what i’ve just stated you already know and perhaps agree with on some level.

  • http://openid-provider.appspot.com/chazseyfarth Blahsteen

    Mouse, you have some valid points but politics is all consuming and I would disagree with your view of not voting on something without having every single detail worked out. as a physician I don’t tell my patients to keep smoking until we find out definitively that their cancer is from the pack a day they’ve been putting into their body. 

    another thing i would mention is that keeping politics out of science does not mean we should keep science out of washington. regulation needs to take place and if you disagree then perhaps you should speak to any of the deepwater victims’ spouses. obviously both parties are guilty of making this into a political issue for personal gain without regard to the serious nature of needing to create jobs vs protecting the environment and human health. but you are very open minded so i’m sure what i’ve just stated you already know and perhaps agree with on some level.